What Everyone Needs To Know About The Smear Campaign Against Trayvon Martin (1995-2012)

Trayvon Martin, as he appeared on his actual Facebook page

The smear campaign against Trayvon Martin started at the Sanford Police Station on February 26, 2012.

It started when the Sanford Police tested Trayvon for drugs and alcohol posthumously.  It started when they left his body in the morgue for three days as a “John Doe”, although they had his cell phone and they could have canvassed the complex to see if anyone’s child was missing.

It started when they let George Zimmerman go with possible forensic evidence on his clothing.

The smear campaign continues as listed by Think Progress’ article below…

Think Progress

Over the last 48 hours, there has been a sustained effort to smear Trayvon Martin, the 17-year old African-American who was shot dead by George Zimmerman a month ago. Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, said, “They killed my son, now they’re trying to kill his reputation.”

Thus far these attacks have fallen into two categories: false and irrelevant. Much of this leaked information seems intended to play into stereotypes about young African-American males. Here’s what everyone should know:

1. Prominent conservative websites published fake photos of Martin. Twitchy, a new website run by prominent conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, promoted a photo — purportedly from Martin’s Facebook page — that shows Martin in saggy pants and flipping the bird. The photo, which spread quickly on conservative websites and Twitter, is intended to paint Martin as a thug. As Twitchy later acknowledged, it is not a photo of Trayvon Martin. [Examiner]

2. The Sanford Police selectively leaked irrelevant, negative information about Martin. The authorities told the Orlando Sentinel this morning that Trayvon was suspended from school for ten days “after being found with an empty marijuana baggie.” There is no evidence that Martin was under the influence of drugs at the time of his death, nor would prior possession of marijuana be a reason for killing him. It’s unclear what the relevance of the leak was, other than to smear Martin. [Orlando Sentinel]

3. On Fox News, Geraldo said that Martin was dressed “like a wannabe gangster.” Bill O’Reilly agreed with him. The sole evidence is that Martin was wearing a hoodie. Geraldo added that “everyone that ever stuck up a convenience store” was wearing a hoodie. [ThinkProgressThe Blaze]

4. Without any evidence, prominent right-wing bloggers suggested that Martin was a drug dealer. Right-wing blogger Dan Riehl advances the theory, also advanced in a widely linked peice on a site called Wagist. There does not appear to be any evidence to support this claim whatsoever. [Riehl World View]

5. Without any evidence, a right-wing columnist alleged that Martin assaulted a bus driver. Unlike Zimmerman, Trayvon has no documented history of violence. This allegation continues to be advanced by a blogger on the Examiner even after the real reason was leaked to the police and confirmed by the family. [Miami HeraldExaminer]

6. Zimmerman’s friend says Martin was to blame because he was disrespectful to Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s friend Joe Oliver said that Martin would not have been shot to death if Trayvon had just said “I’m staying with my parents.” Of course, Zimmerman was not a police officer, and Trayvon had no duty to tell him who he was or where he was going. [NBC News]

The final part of the effort to smear Trayvon Martin is to link him and his supporters to irresponsible fringe groups like the New Black Panthers and marginal provocateurs like Louis Farrakhan. Threats by these groups are serious and should be investigated, but they have nothing to do with Martin or his supporters. The leader of the effort to associate Martin with these groups is Matt Drudge. You can see how he is framing the story today here.

Ultimately, whether Martin was a perfect person is irrelevant to whether Zimmerman’s conduct that night was justified. Clearly, there are two different versions of the events that transpired on February 26, the night Trayvon was killed. There are conflicting statements by witnesses and conflicting evidence as to who was the aggressor. Zimmerman has the right to tell his side of the story. But his opportunity to do this will come in a court of law after he is charged and arrested. In the meantime, Zimmerman’s supporters should stop trying to smear the reputation of a dead, 17-year-old boy.

Think Progress has an earlier report on Trayvon Martin:  What Everyone Should Know About Trayvon Martin (1995 – 2012)

Rep. Gohmert warns of ‘redneck’ mandates if Obamacare upheld

There is no doubt than Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert is one fry short of a Happy Meal. The Tea Party favorite has been spewing crazy rhetoric for the past two years…

The Raw Story

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) on Monday said liberals should be opposed to the insurance mandate in the Affordable Care Act because it could be used against them by a future “redneck” president, according to The Hill.

“Let’s say you want to follow this administration’s idea of greatest good for the greatest number of people,” he said at a press conference. “It ought to scare liberals to come run and join conservatives, because what it means is when this president’s out of the White House and you get a conservative in there, if this president has the authority under Obamacare to trample on religious rights, then some redneck president’s got the right to say, ‘you know what, there’s some practices that go on in your house that cost people too much money and healthcare, so we’re going to have the right to rule over those as well.’”

The U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments on Monday on the so-called individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

Obama’s landmark law grants 30 million Americans health insurance for the first time, bringing universal coverage closer than ever before.

But its requirement that all Americans purchase personal health insurance or pay a penalty is seen by Republicans as a breach of the U.S. Constitution.

In Monday’s 90-minute hearing, the justices considered arguments on the narrow question of whether they have jurisdiction in the case, or must wait until the law has fully entered into force after 2014 to rule on it.

“My sense was that… they seemed to be, through their questions, indicating that they thought that the court ought to rule on this,” said Price, who attended the hearing.

On the Senate floor, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attacked Obama’s signature legislative achievement as “a mess,” and said that while the president was right to seek reform, “the bill he gave us and that Democrats forced through Congress on a party-line vote just isn’t working.”

“Regardless of what the court decides, it needs to be repealed and replaced with common sense reforms that actually lower costs and that Americans really want.”

Senate Republican Jeff Sessions, who attended the hearing, expressed concern that “the courts have given too much deference to the power of the federal government and its reach.”

“This is going to be a challenge to this court to move away from the idea that anything the federal government wants to do, it’s empowered to do. That is not so,” he added.

Every Republican in the Senate and House of Representatives is on record opposing the health care reform law.

Obama’s Affordable Care Act “has become a malignant tumor, it’s metastasizing now and it feeds on American liberty,” said Iowa congressman Steve King, who has been instrumental in crafting anti-Obamacare legislation.

Supreme Court Clerks Predict Health Care Reform Will Be Upheld

Supreme Court ObamacareAccording to many pundits who appeared on all the news shows today, as well as some Supreme Court Clerks, the SCOTUS is not likely to overturn the law.  It’s not unprecedented, but imagine the ramifications and slippery slope if an interest group doesn’t like a law passed by Congress and they ultimately petition the Supreme Court of the United States to have it declared unconstitutional.

The Huffington Post

The lawyers who know the Supreme Court justices best seem largely certain that they’ll uphold the president’s health care law following the next three critical days of oral arguments.

The Republican-leaning American Action Forum and the centrist-Democratic group Blue Dog Research Forum released a poll of former clerks of current justices, as well as attorneys who have argued before the court. In it, they asked for predictions about how the court will rule on the Affordable Care Act.

Only 35 percent of respondents felt that the individual mandate penalizing those who decline to buy health insurance would be ruled unconstitutional. More than a quarter of respondents (27 percent) expected that the case would be thrown out until the mandate actually comes into effect in 2014, with the justices citing the Anti-Injunction Act as a way to argue that there is no standing for a suit.

The findings are far from scientific. Only 66 people participated in the survey — 43 former clerks and 23 other attorneys — a group American Action Forum compiled through public records searches of recent cases. Moreover, the tilt of the respondent pool was, like the court, a bit conservative. The survey describes the respondents as follows: “Of the Supreme Court clerks, 12 clerked for the ‘left’ block of the Court (Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, Sotomayor), 21 clerked for the ‘right’ block of the Court (Justices Alito, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas), and 10 clerked for Justice Kennedy.”

But the percentages still reflect what has been the conventional wisdom among those in the legal community heading into this week’s oral arguments. As it stands now, the bet is that the court will ultimately rule the Affordable Care Act constitutional. The reasoning for this usually falls into one of three categories: that the small sliver of legal precedent suggests the law will be upheld, that the court would respect congressional action as a default position, or that individual justices are invested in establishing their bipartisan credentials this go-around.

That latter bit of armchair psychology always seemed a bit of a reach, with law professors pontificating about how Chief Justice Roberts wanted to shape his legacy. The poll by American Action Forum and Blue Dog Research Forum, at the very least, relies on the opinions of those individuals who have actually worked with the justices.

All the respondents were asked what would happen if the court ruled that the mandate was unconstitutional. Thirty-six percent said that the justices would end up ruling that the mandate was subsequently severable from the law, meaning that the rest of the legislation could legally stand without it. Thirty-eight percent said that they believed it was partially severable, meaning that other provisions (likely the language prohibiting discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions) had to fall with it. Just over a quarter of respondents (27 percent) said that the mandate was non-severable.



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